Saturday, 15 April 2017

Review: Island of Secrets by Patricia Wilson

'As I remember, the story started at about six o'clock in the morning on the fourteenth of September, 1943...'

All her life Angie 37-year-old London-born has been intrigued by her mother's secret past. Now, planning her own wedding she feels she must visit the remote Cretan village her mother grew up in, despite her objections. Unbeknownst to Angie her elderly grandmother, Maria, is dying. She wants to unburden herself of the terrible story that she will otherwise take to the grave.

It's the story of the time of the German occupation of Crete during the Second World War, of horror, of courage and of the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her children and of how you learn to go on in the aftermath of tragedy. And it's the story of bitter secrets that broke the family apart, and of three enchanting women who come together to heal wounds that have damaged two generations.

ebook, 400 pages
Published March 9th 2017 by Bonnier Zaffre

Terri's Thoughts

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

I was really looking forward to this book due the subject matter of World War II.  As an avid reader of any book dealing with this subject, I have yet to read anything related to what occurred in Greece during this time.  Any opportunity to learn more through fiction is a welcome opportunity for me.

While the storyline involved a lot of twists and turns and names of secondary characters I had a hard time keeping track of, the real highlight for me was the events of WWII and the Greek culture in a small village.

Starting with the story of the war, I was shocked with the events that had unfolded in Crete.  Although I know that there was tragedy and hard times for everyone the war touched, I had no idea of the atrocities that occurred here.  While this is a story of fiction, Wilson's biography indicates that the stories were mostly true based on stories told by the elderly woman of Amiras.  Without giving anything away, I will only say that the horror stories that we all know about the Nazi regime are not the only horrors that were perpetrated by them.  I can only feel fortunate that I was not around to experience anything like what the woman of Amiras did.

The second highlight for me was the actual village of Amiras and the Greek culture.  I found it slightly humorous the dramatics that occur in village life and could see clearly what it was like.  The example Angie's wedding day and the chaos that took place made me want to be part of the chaos.  Also the close family ties and sense of community was a refreshing change to the way today.  I also got a kick out of everyone knowing each others business.

As for the actual storyline, I didn't know where it was going to take me at first.  The story wove between present day and the past and got kind of confusing at times.  As in all stories of this nature, the secrets are gradually exposed as the reader takes the journey.  While I didn't enjoy the story as much as the backdrop of it, I still found it satisfying that everything eventually came to light.

All in all, this was an eye opening story about the events that occurred during the war.  It is yet one more piece of the puzzle for me as the reader to have the opportunity to learn about how it impacted others.  I still feel haunted regarding this fact long after reading the last sentence.

About the Author

 Patricia lived in the village of Amiras in Crete where her debut novel, 'The Island of Secrets' is set. She was inspired to write when she unearthed a machine gun in her garden - one used in the events that unfolded in September 1943, and much of the novel is based on real stories told to her by the oldest women of Amiras. Women who've never spoken of their experiences before. Patricia still spends much of her time in Greece.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Terri, Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write a review and score Island of Secrets. As a new author, these things are terrifically important to me. You seem to have enjoyed the story, which pleases me as it took ten years to research. In that time, listening to the most upsetting accounts from very old women, who had not told their stories, even to their closest family members, before.
    Although I have dressed the real events in a story of fiction, it still means a lot to the local woman of Amiras. So I have to ask you. After so much praise about the novel, what made you only award Island of Secrets with 3 stars?
    If you could be more explicit, it would help me to improve, and perhaps be some consolation to the woman whom I seem to have let down so badly.
    Thank you, Patricia Wilson.